Note on photos: I would like to give proper credit for all.
Yes, I’ll forgive you if, on first glance, you thought this was the bride on the arm of her father. I did too–until I investigated. You all know by now that I love a true older man, younger woman romance. To be honest, I couldn’t find much on this couple to enable me to know if this was an arranged marriage or just a selection of the best of the suitable spousal possibilities! Two Catholic royals in need of a spouse, but expected to marry other royals would have had slim pickings in the aftermath of World War I. In fact, this couple had to post-pone their nuptials due to the groom losing his throne!
Rupprecht was a prince of the Wittelsbach family of the Kingdom of Bavaria. Quite a mouthful to say all of that! In the days before German unification, Bavaria and other small German states had their own royals. It was all very feudal. Queen Victoria’s daughter, Victoria, married the heir to the Prussian throne–Prussia’s royalty are mostly who an American would know. Kaiser Wilhelm ring any bells? That was his throne–Prussia. There were all sorts of others. Some were Catholic, some protestant. All needed to marry other royals with the same religion. Bavaria, largely Catholic, would look to various Italian kingdoms (no, “Italy” wasn’t quite the Italy is is today, either).
Now that you understand all of that, let’s get back to old Rupprect. His first wife, apparently the love of his younger self’s life, died very young–there had been a mere nine years between these two. But the life of a General in a World War is lonely–lonelier still upon receiving a Field Marshal’s baton, so Rupprecht looked around for a suitable second wife. The tiny kingdom of Luxembourg had a bevy of Catholic princesses that caught his eye. He settled on Antnoia–“Toni”–who was 3o years his junior.
When their engagement was announced it caused trouble for Toni’s sister, the already-troubled ruler of the tiny kingdom, Grand Duchess Marie-Adelaide. She eventually abdicated. Rupprecht had troubles of his own soon after the engagement as well. After World War I there was a very unsettled period in much of Europe. For example, the Russian Tzar was killed and a civil war broke out in Russia, too. Germany also had problems. Bavaria became a republic. Rupprecht was now a prince in name only.
After he’d negotiated a deal to keep much of his property and income, Rupprecht and Toni were back “on.” (Now word if anyone played around thinking they were on a break… I’m guessing not. Losing thrones can be stressful.) Rupprecht and his young bride, Toni, finally married in April of 1921.
With Toni spending the next 13 years giving birth to 6 children I assume the marriage at least started out as a happy one. But that happiness in her childbearing years was snuffed out by her husband’s very noble intentions. Rupprecht, a Field Marshal of the old school, stood up to Hitler and opposed the Nazis. The couple had to go into exile. Finally, in 1944 while Toni and the children were in Hungary, they were rounded up and arrested by the Nazis. Rupprecht was in Italy at the time and escaped capture. Tonia and her children were imprisoned at Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. Later they were moved to Dachau–fortunately the month they arrived was the same month the camp was liberated.
After the war the couple lived in Switzerland. Toni, who had been ill when captured, never enjoyed good health again. They died only months apart–Toni first, then Rupprecht.
This photo shows their children as young adults.